Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Add to My MSN

Thomas Jefferson's Favorite Crop is Back in American Soil

6/18/2014 11:02:00 AM

Tags: hemp, MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Washington, Doug Fine

Editor’s Note: One of the favorite events among attendees to the Puyallup MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR was investigative author Doug Fine’s Hemp Bound talk. Here are his thoughts on why hemp matters so much, a belief that was translated into a passionate and funny workshop on the GRIT Stage May 31. Good news: We’ll see Doug again at the Seven Springs, Pa., MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR Sept. 12 -14.

In the three weeks before I discussed hemp at the Puyallup MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR  (and what a time I had there!), four more states legalized hemp cultivation. And not just those you might call the usual suspect states: We’re talkin’ Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina and Tennessee. This on top of federal authorization of hemp research in this year’s Farm Bill. Heck, the DEA just turned over 286 pounds of hemp seed to Kentucky farmers. When did all this good governing start happening?

My key bullet point at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR was that two years of worldwide field research convinced me, a seasoned investigative author, these developments are important for humanity. As a father who’d like to bequeath a livable climate, I’m optimistic about our climate change mitigation prospects for the first time in a long time. 

At every one of the dozen talks I’ve given since writing a book about hemp, some entrepreneurs, farmers or processors have approached me about bringing the tri-cropping ideas expressed in Hemp Bound into the real world economy. (Tri-cropping, as described in the book, is utilizing one hemp harvest for three applications: seed oil, fiber and energy.)

One of these events (complete with slide show, a 1735 hemp-bound book an audience member brought, and my tales of taking a hemp-powered limo ride) was taped by C-Span. (It’s available online at C-SPAN.)

Even I can’t believe this is all happening. Not to this extent. Not this fast. How did it go from the dream of my college roommate with the lava lamp to federal policy? I’m just grateful. So are American farmers. One hemp pioneer I followed in the book, Ryan Loflin, is clear about what hemp’s return means.

“It takes half the water that wheat does,” the 41-year-old Coloradan told me, scooping up a handful of drought-scarred soil so parched and sandy it evoked the Sahara. “And provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate change era.”

Also excited are my own Funky Butte Ranch goats, as you can see in the photo below: They’ll be getting homegrown hemp seed feed very soon, as will I.

- Doug Fine, Funky Butte Ranch, N.M.

P.S. I don’t even know what to say about this one except thanks to the one and only Willie Nelson, one of my principal role models. He just tweeted: Best book o’the year! Launch #HempBound 2 #Top10 on @amazonbooks w/1day push 2day &revive #America thru laughter

Photo, above:Taylor Swift, the Funky Butte Ranch nanny, attempts to take a bite out of an advance copy of Hemp Bound, April 2014

Related Content

Italian Fried Doughnuts

For the last week we had no propane and as a result I have had to cook all of my food on an electric...

Hemp History Week: Should We Outlaw Powdered Sugar, Too?

If the DEA can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants, says a former Kentucky gover...

Swans and Doughnuts

Have you ever wondered what is in an "industrial" doughnut?

Two Years After Oklahoma Earthquake Officials Warn More to Come

The quake that struck near Prague, Oklahoma on November 5, 2011, was the biggest ever recorded in th...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


6/30/2014 9:21:00 AM
I just want to thank you for your research and to the hemp farmers that have dedicated their lives for the research that has been done! We Need something to bring us out of the dark ages and into the now SO LET THEM DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ALL HUMANITY !!!!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.